Smile by Kristen MacKenzie
December 16, 2014 § 5 Comments
Another winning entry in Brevity‘s Holiday Smile contest:
She’s twenty-one and just got braces. She sends me the occasional picture, mostly of her puppy, and the ones she sends of herself show her in three-quarter profile making that expression you see so often now in young women; she’s making duck-lips. I’m her mother so I think she’s beautiful anyway.
When she was ten months old she learned to walk and smile is too small a word to encompass the expression she has in the picture I remember, little pointy teeth bared and eyes like blue candles. And then there’s the picture of her at four, picking pumpkins from our garden with her glasses that had a patch over one side. Her lips are flattened, she’s grinning so hard, and one leg sticks out to the side like she may have been dancing a little, a jig of celebration. She’d rather no one see that picture so I hide it, but I have every detail in my mind.
By the time she was thirteen she’d learned to smile so her crooked bottom teeth didn’t show and by eighteen, it was a rare picture that showed teeth at all. A smile is sometimes a baring of the teeth, but maybe it’s also come to mean baring of more than just our dental insufficiencies; it’s ourselves unguarded.
I won’t see her for the holidays. She lives all the way across the country and travel is not in the budget. She hasn’t asked what I want for Christmas, but I know what I’ll tell her next time we talk:
Smile for me, and let me really see you.
Kristen MacKenzie lives on Vashon Island in a little cabin by the sea where the shelves are lined with herbs for medicine-making, the floor is open for dancing, and the table faces the shore, waiting for a writer to pick up the pen.
We encourage readers to use Amazon Smile to help Brevity pay authors and grow stronger. Continue to purchase books from your local independent bookseller, if you are lucky enough to have one nearby, but please channel other Amazon holiday shopping through the Amazon Smile Brevity Link: (it doesn’t cost you a cent) and we get a few pennies on every purchase. You can bookmark the link and make it your permanent Amazon entryway, which would really make us smile